Just dreamed I was working at a mattress abattoir/factory in some long ago time and place. The mattresses were somehow living organisms. I had to use a guillotine and also sometimes a huge cleaver, if the guillotine didn’t slice all the way through, and chop them cleanly and very systematically, blood pooling on the rushes underfoot. Every blow I dealt nauseated me to tears. There was a foreman forcing me to speed up all the time. There was nothing else to the dream but this enforced, repetitive violence, and all I could do to try to make it better was to do the awful hacking with more precision.
But what does it mean?
Myself, I think it has to do with being inescapably forced to inhabit the violent, corporate machine of colonialism… I’m working on knowledge production about Africa by missionaries and scientists, through looking at archival objects, which are objects but also subjects, violently wrenched from their contexts. The mattress here symbolises something… maybe related to peace of mind, restfulness, not being awake or aware… I don’t know. Whatever it is, it is being violently ruptured. I think this could be about being forced to make one’s bed to lie in, as a researcher and writer inserted into the chain of murderous history, unable to escape perpetuating it even as I try to undo it, still half asleep.